As a young man, Geoffrey Copeman originally had no plans to work for the family business - the newspaper group which published the Eastern Daily Press, among many other titles.

But his resolve did not last long and once he had started, he quickly made his mark.

Mr Copeman, who has died aged 87, spent 45 years with the parent company of the EDP, overseeing key changes and playing a powerful role in the newspaper industry and wider Norfolk life.

Born in Norwich on August 22, 1936, he attended Gresham's School in Holt and spent much of his holidays sailing on the Norfolk Broads. 

Norwich Evening News: Geoffrey Copeman at home reading the EDP

After his education, his early career saw him take on an apprenticeship as a mechanical engineer with J J Colman Ltd - now Reckitt & Colman - at Carrow Works in the city. 

Down the road, his father, Will Copeman, was then chairman of Eastern Counties Newspapers (ECN).

Having already embarked on another career, his son had no intention of getting involved with newspapers. 

Norwich Evening News: Geoffrey Copeman pictured in December 1984

But after seven happy years there, it was the lure of a big challenge that encouraged him to think about a change. 

He was given the opportunity of a major engineering challenge; managing the build of Prospect House and the company's move from Redwell Street to the Rouen Road headquarters.

He joined ECN in 1961 as a works manager, a move which led him to become group chief executive. 

He retired as deputy chairman of Archant, as ECN had become, in 2006, following a 45-year career. 

Norwich Evening News: Geoffrey Copeman with his wife

The family, which can trace its roots back to 1620 in Norfolk, was one of the three founders of an “independent” newspaper to campaign for more “radical or liberal” views. 

On November 9, 1844, members representing the Colman, Copeman and Tillett families had an informal meeting, which eventually led to the launch of the Norfolk News in 1845 and the EDP in 1870. 

A deep and abiding enthusiasm for newspapers led Geoffrey Copeman to expand his role outside East Anglia to serve as a director of the Newspaper Society and a board member of the Press Association. 

Norwich Evening News: Geoffrey Copeman with work colleagues

Then he represented the society as president of the World Association of Newspapers. 

He was appointed CBE for services to the newspaper industry in the 2001 New Year's Honours and became a recipient of the Newspaper Society's president's prize. 

A magistrate, he was appointed a deputy lieutenant of Norfolk in 1989 and also served on the board of Norwich Union, Suffolk Group Radio, Radio Broadland, and East Anglia Radio. 

He was also chair of AMRA, a London-based advertisement sales presentations agency, and was involved in planning the successful management buy-out. 

Norwich Evening News: Geoffrey Copeman with the EDP train

He was a president of the Norfolk & Waveney Chamber of Commerce and Industry, chairman of the Audit Bureau of Circulation, chairman of the governors of Norwich School, and a trustee of Norwich's Assembly House and the Forum Trust. 

He was also the chair of the Excelsior Trust, which operates the last remaining Lowestoft fishing smack as a tall ship with an emphasis on sail training.

While newspapers were the family business, Mr Copeman always had wider interests including sailing on the Broads and at sea, playing hockey, horse riding, motorcycle riding, tennis and croquet.  

He could often be seen in the lanes of Norfolk in his Westfield kit car.  

Norwich Evening News: Geoffrey Copeman

Additionally, he spent much time during the 1980s and 1990s tending livestock on his smallholding, near Norwich.

His later in life interest in tennis led him to become president of the Norfolk Lawn Tennis Association.

Geoffrey Henry Charles Copeman leaves behind his wife Bridget and their four children.

He died on Wednesday, January 3.